Friday, 13 July 2018

Good Shepherd

Got up a new PowerPoint - the Good Shepherd.

He's a modern middle eastern shepherd - couldn't do a modern Scottish shepherd, because they shepherd differently. And he is the same shepherd as from the Lost Sheep, Psalm 23 and Micah's prophecy.

The sheep fold
The thief
The gatekeeper opens the gate for the shepherd
The shepherd calls the sheep by name
They run away from a stranger (who appears to be wearing a teatowel as a disguise)
I am the Good Shepherd
The hired hand runs away from the wolf

The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep...

...only to take it up again.
Other sheep not from this fold (these are all real sheep from around the world - some very strange!)
No-one can snatch them out of my hand.

Thursday, 12 July 2018


This is why the rain we usually get in Scotland is a good thing.

Muirend playing fields
The greenest thing in this photo is my toenails.

Wednesday, 11 July 2018

Kirsty's fashion tips

Ladies, if you're wearing a backless dress, a backless bra will look considerably better.

Sunday, 8 July 2018

Remember me

This morning in church we learned about Joseph and Pharaoh's cupbearer:
But when all goes well with you, remember me and show me kindness; mention me to Pharaoh and get me out of this prison. I was forcibly carried off from the land of the Hebrews, and even here I have done nothing to deserve being put in a dungeon.’
The chief cupbearer, however, did not remember Joseph; he forgot him.

This evening, we learned about Jesus and the thief on the cross:
We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.’
Then he said, ‘Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.’
Jesus answered him, Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.’

As far as I know, as the morning services over the summer are free topics picked by the speakers, this was not planned by anyone (except, presumably, God).

Friday, 6 July 2018

Unusual pose reference

Was trying to imagine a good pose for the Good Shepherd calling the sheep by name. Then I remembered this picture from the Flower Fairies! I really pays to pore over books with pictures again and again and again.

There will be more sheep in the final pic.

Saturday, 30 June 2018

Solomon's mobile basins

I've been looking at Solomon's temple for doing a PowerPoint (put on hold for the moment).
In the furniture described are these bronze mobile basin stands, explained in great detail - which unfortunately no-one nowadays can make head or tail of.

I did come across this, though. I really don't think they looked like this (and I don't think he's seriously suggesting it) but it's pretty cool!

First Temple laver stand with omni wheels from Yoav Elan on Vimeo.
 (Here's his blog post about it)

Monday, 25 June 2018

A metaphor for life or something

Yesterday we played a game where the children had to throw a ball into a bucket. The nearest bucket earned 5 points, the middle bucket 10, and the furthest 20.

The children found this more difficult than I expected. But their different approaches were interesting. Some of the older boys refused to aim at anything other than the '20' bucket, always missed, and therefore never gained any points at all. Meanwhile, some of the others aimed at the '5' and perhaps '10', and managed to accumulate a good number of points.

Friday, 22 June 2018

Nice toilet doors

Inverness Bus Station:

The only problem with these ones is that the frosted man/woman symbol is too faint, and it took me a moment to remember which circle symbol was which (I know perfectly well, but it's not as automatic).

Eastwoodmains Medical Practise:

Taken rather hastily in case the ladies at reception wondered what on earth I was doing :-)

Tuesday, 5 June 2018

My Silhouette machine has become sentient :-o

I have a Silhouette machine*
Today it decided to try some designing on its own.

I cut out some fairy wings. Look quite nice - but...

'That's odd,' I thought, 'I didn't remember designing them with points.'
So I went and checked. This is what I actually told it to print:


Anyway, I then did some adaptions to the wings and cut them out again. This time I copied and pasted it, so it would cut two identical pairs:

Identical? Hmmmm....

*a machine that cuts stuff - a bit like a printer with a blade instead of ink.

Thursday, 31 May 2018

Fish tombstone

Too much pictureless text recently.
Not enough randomness.

Did some (very rare) gardening on the holiday Monday. Uncovered my goldfish's tombstone.

Looks like tippex is a pretty long-lasting medium - monumental sculptors take note.

Tuesday, 29 May 2018

So close :-D

I asked the children: How many years do you think Jeremiah said the people would be in exile for?
Child: 10
Me: More than that...
Child: 20
Me: More than that...
Child: 30...
Me: More than that...
Child: 40 
Me: More than that...
Child: 50 
Me: More than that...
Child: 60 
Me: More than that...
Child: 75

Saturday, 26 May 2018

Freewill AND predestination

The Jews were sent back from exile, to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem, because this was common Persian political policy - to rebuild temples in conquered lands, in order to curry favour with their many gods.

The Jews were sent back from exile, to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem, because the Lord moved the heart of Cyrus king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of the Lord spoken by Jeremiah.

Both of these statements are equally true.

Friday, 25 May 2018

Pinterest - all is forgiven!

After my moaning yesterday, it turns out there is a new (very un-obvious) feature on Pinterest.

Near the top right of the page is a little icon that looks like two people.

Click that, and you only see pins from people you actually follow.

This seems like the ideal solution - people can pick what they prefer.

(Would be even better if this kind of personalisation was at the permissions level - so you didn't need to give companies the permission to profile you, and then choose to not use it - still, it's much better than most companies, who force you to 'benefit' from their profiling whether you like it or not, in the name of personalisation.)

Thursday, 24 May 2018


One of the criteria under the new Data Protection regulations, for recording someone's data, is that it's 'necessary'.

Here's an excerpt from Pinterest's new privacy policy - it is mandatory to agree to this:

We use the information we collect to provide the Service to you. We commit to showing you content that’s relevant, interesting and personal to you. In order to do that, it’s necessary for us to use your information to: [...]
  • Recommend Pins, boards, topics or categories you might like based on your activity on Pinterest. For example, if we see you’re into cooking, we may suggest food-related Pins, boards or people that we think you might like or show you food-related ads.
[...] It is also fundamental to the nature of the Service we provide. In short, it’s necessary for us to do these things in order to make the Service relevant, interesting and personal to you like we promised, and it’s in both of our interests for us to do that.
This is not 'necessary' - if you're trying to make it 'relevant', 'interesting' and 'personal' you should respect the wishes of the many users who can find relevant interesting personal stuff themselves and do not want you to recommend stuff to them (and have told you so, repeatedly).


Btw, here's my Privacy Policy. I suspect it doesn't dot all the legal i's, and cross all the lagal t's. What it does do, however, is follow the spirit of the law - that people's info should not be used for things they do not want.

[Edit - Pinterest is not as bad as I thought - here's how.]

Saturday, 19 May 2018

Wedding banquet

And yet another old one I've finished off - the parable of the wedding banquet from Matthew.

Pure coincidence that the prince and princess look very like another royal wedding that happened today ;-)

Friday, 18 May 2018

Fairy development

Yes, I know it's not GDPR, but I've finally solved the main problem with these fairy dolls, that I have been puzzling over for ages: how to add features.

This is also a much easier way to do the hair.

I just used old ink pads left over from the church library - when I do it for real I'll need to get new ones and more hair colours.

Proverbs in the internet age

The internet would be a very different place if we paid attention to God's wisdom:
A person who is passing by and meddles in a quarrel that’s not his
is like one who grabs a dog by the ears [...] 
Without wood, fire goes out;
without a gossip, conflict dies down. 
As charcoal for embers and wood for fire,
so is a quarrelsome person for kindling strife. 
A gossip’s words are like choice food
that goes down to one’s innermost being.
Proverbs 26 v17, 20-22

And now for something completely different :-)

Fairy dressing doll prototype.

I would much rather be working on this than faffing about with GDPR.

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Jesus rules

We learned about Belshazzar's feast on Sunday, and made this:

Click to see big.

The photos are of our own leaders, leaders that are often in the news, and a variety of kings - mostly absolute monarchs - which I found on Wikipedia.

Interestingly, none of the children knew who Nicola Sturgeon was*.
I think they all knew who Donald Trump was :-D

*First Minister of Scotland, if there are any international readers.

Monday, 14 May 2018


Rap is weird. It's poetry. But instead of speaking it with expression, you chant it in a monotone, thus making it hard to understand and obscuring the meaning.

Or am I missing something?

Fruit II

Last week I posted about my problems illustrating the parable of the sower.

We knew we wanted several different scenarios in the picture. But it was so tiny.

It took a looooong time to figure out how to do this - but then it suddenly came to me and was fairly easy to draw.

Here's the result:

Apologies for paranoid watermarking :-)
I like to be very careful when posting artwork I have done for other publishers.

Saturday, 12 May 2018


I was Googling for pictures of the queen (and other country leaders).

This is not what I meant!

photos of the rock band, Queen

Thursday, 10 May 2018


Doing some illustrations for the parable of the sower. The final application picture is really difficult:
But the one sown on the good ground—this is one who hears and understands the word, who does produce fruit and yields: some a hundred, some sixty, some thirty times what was sown.
Matthew 13v23
And those like seed sown on good ground hear the word, welcome it, and produce fruit thirty, sixty, and a hundred times what was sown.
Matthew 4v20
But the seed in the good ground—these are the ones who, having heard the word with an honest and good heart, hold on to it and by enduring, produce fruit.

'Produce fruit' is just a tad abstract... So I looked up lots of references:
the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control
Galatians 5v22-23
you’ll recognize them by their fruit [...] the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.
Matthew 7v20-31
a tree is known by its fruit [...] by your words you will be acquitted
Matthew 12v33,37
produce fruit consistent with repentance [...]
“What then should we do?” the crowds were asking him.
He replied to them, “The one who has two shirts must share with someone who has none, and the one who has food must do the same.” [...] “Don’t collect any more than what you have been authorized.” [...] “Don’t take money from anyone by force or false accusation, and be satisfied with your wages.”
Luke 3v8-14
the fruit of the light consists of all goodness, righteousness, and truth—testing what is pleasing to the Lord.
Ephesians 5v9-10
the fruit of righteousness
Philippians 1v11
Now if I live on in the flesh, this means fruitful work for me [...] I know that I will remain and continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith
Phillipians 1v22,25
bearing fruit in every good work
Colossians 1v10
the peaceful fruit of righteousness
Hebrews 12v11
let us continually offer up to God a sacrifice of praise, that is, the fruit of lips that confess his name
Hebrews 13v15
So now I just need to express all that in a 7.5x9.6cm rectangle, relevant to children, matching the other illustrations, and clear from a distance. Hmmm...

[Edit - here's the result]

Saturday, 5 May 2018

Daniel 3

Daniel chapter 3 has so much verbatim repetition it almost reads like a picture book:

Then the herald loudly proclaimed, ‘Nations and peoples of every language, this is what you are commanded to do: as soon as you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipe and all kinds of music, you must fall down and worship the image of gold that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up. Whoever does not fall down and worship will immediately be thrown into a blazing furnace.’

Therefore, as soon as they heard the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp and all kinds of music, all the nations and peoples of every language fell down and worshipped the image of gold that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up.

At this time some astrologers came forward and denounced the Jews. They said to King Nebuchadnezzar, ‘May the king live for ever! Your Majesty has issued a decree that everyone who hears the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipe and all kinds of music must fall down and worship the image of gold, and that whoever does not fall down and worship will be thrown into a blazing furnace.

Monday, 30 April 2018

Vineyard workers

Another one I forgot to post - the parable of the workers in the vineyard. This was one I did for my church a few years ago, but I felt it needed a couple of extra slides before selling it.

It is kind of odd to have a parable in a modern setting with people being paid with silver coins! But, while you could retell this story with modern money, for my PowerPoints I want to stick to the exact wording of the Bible, which is more useful for teachers.

Thursday, 26 April 2018


I wonder if this will help my work? :-D


Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Island names

If you wanted to call your children after Scottish islands, you could have a pretty large family before you ran out of sensible names:
  • Lewis
  • Harris
  • Iona
  • Skye
  • Isla
  • Arran
  • and, if you had twins, Ailsa and Craig!
[General view, Ailsa Craig, Scotland] (LOC)
The Ailsa Craig